Archive for April, 2003

Justice, Chavez style

April 25, 2003

On January 20th. I made this post in which a guy on top of a jeep is showing shooting at the opposition demonstration in the town of Charallave:








The next day I showed these pictures of men with guns also shooting at the crowd:

One person died that day and 29 were injured by bullets, all part of the opposition march. A few days later, a judge ordered the guy on top of the jeep, its driver and one of the gunmen arrested. I just saw on TV the judge, whose name I believe is Pedro Natera, explaining that he was removed by the Government from his position in retaliation for this decision and that the three orders of arrest have been cancelled. All three men were activists of Chavez’ MVR party. Such is justice in the Chávez revolution.


Government balks at signing agreement, says it does not exist

April 24, 2003

After six months of negotiations an agreement was reached between the Government and the oposition and was to be signed on Tuesday. Today, the Government in its most cynical statement to date said the agrrement never existed and its signing was never contemplated. The agreement was announced on April 11th by Cesar Gaviria’s second in command at the OAS and that same day Gaviria himself hailed the agreement from New York. A very somber Gaviria said today there was no signing and for now, all conversations are suspended. Once again the Chavez administration twists the truth and shows that Chavez and his partisans are a bunch of liars, thiefs and an unethical bunch.

Oxford, Chavez, Human Rights and oxymorons

April 24, 2003

A year ago, Hugo Chavez was invited to speak at the International Human Rights Seminar at Oxford University. To me this sounded like a true oxymoron and led to a section in my page called the Requena Files, which contains the exchange between Jaime Requena and that seminar. Today the oxymoronic nature of that invitation was confirmed when the Venezuelan Government rejected the resolution at the OAS (Tal Cual page 3) backing Human Rights and democratic freedom in the island. The Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS said that this was making the issue “political” and that these issues shoud be addressed at the Interamerican Human Rights Commission. Interestingly enough that same body has repeatedly found the Venezuelan Government violates human rights and the right of free speech and the Chavez Government has always disregarded its conclusions. Definitely a new level for the concept of oxymoron and the stupidity of the foreign left.

The genius of Weil’s humor

April 24, 2003

From today’s Tal Cual newspaper by Weil, pure genius

More on Hugo Chavez, Presidential grocer

April 24, 2003

Article in today’s Wall Streert Journal (need subscription) related to what I wrote last night about the packaging being used in propaganda for Chavez and the Government and how the Government is competing with the private sector. (Except that the private sector has yet to be given a dollar in the 90 days since exchange controls were imposed). The advisors for the Chavez Government are none other than the same people that manage food provisions in Cuba, where there are rationing cards and people don’t eat complete meals. What a great example to follow!. Some quotes from the article:

The government’s new “Special Plan for Sovereignty and Food Security” aims to ensure the food supply “does not go back ever to being subordinated to private interests,” Mr. Chavez said in a radio address.

Government buyers, assisted by brokers from the Cuban state company, Alimport, have ordered shiploads of food products, bypassing private-sector companies that in recent years bought and distributed all imported food, about 70% of everything Venezuela consumes.

Cubans are helping Venezuela set up its new food-supply system, but so are experts from the U.S., Spain and Colombia, said Oswaldo Carnevali, Venezuela’s vice minister of agriculture and land. He said the government seeks to reclaim “an empty space” in the food-distribution system that has left about 30% of the population unable to afford a 2,400-calorie daily diet.

On the last quote, I can only add that Chavez eliminated all social assistance programs when he became President, so who is he blaming?

List of dissidents jailed in Cuba

April 23, 2003

Chilling to see the list of Cubans sentenced by the repressive Castro Government to jail sentnecs for opposing the Government. Note that the human rights activists and journalists were sentenced to at least ten years in prison and as many as twenty six. The list was provided by Hoystory via Instapundit. I do disagree with Hoystory that this justifies the embargo. I think the embargo has only hurt the Cuban people and would actually help get rid of Castro if removed. Is this where we are headed here? To those that think I may be exagerating, we had a pro Castro Cuban priest on nationwide TV yesterday speaking next to Chavez for about 40 minutes, this a week after the worldwide extreme left met in Caracas to hail Chavez…….

The Unethical revolution: Chavez is the State

April 23, 2003

The lack of ethics of the Chavez revolution is shown here in pictures of the packaging of the black beans being sold by the Venezuelan Government in a new chain of “popular” supermarkets, one of which Chavez inaugurated yesterday. These packages are subsidized and sold by the Government in these so called “popular” markets at low prices. A lot of the stuff is imported by the Government to compete with the private sector. This is rather easy to do, the private sector has no access to foreign currency, but the Government does. But what is incredible is how this foodstuffs paid by all Venezuelans is used to promote Chavez, his Government and his project. The text below on the left says: “Bolivarian Government. Special Plan for providing food. The people, the armed forces and the Government have defeated the attempted strike and sabotage and the economy of the country. There has never been a Government that resisted so much and came out victorious. But despite this universal lesson of patriotism and conscience , the enemy (read 70% of Venezuelans in the opposition) pretends to continue their destruction, promoting shortages. But they will fail here too, because there is resolve in the people, armed forces armed with dignity and a Government that responds. When the people need it, the Government responds!”. The back side says: “Thousands of street vendors, merchants and small shop owners said no to sabotage, did not pay attention to the strike and maintained our stores at the people’s orders”. It then quotes the paragraph of the Constitution that gives the public powers the order to guarantee food provisioning”

So these are black beans used to promote the “revolution” and the “process” and all of it paid by us, the same Venezuelans that oppose Chavez but can’t have an election or referendum take place. The packages say little about the fact that there are going to be shortages beacuse of the inefficient and incompentent exchange controls imposed by the Chavez Government, which in the last 90 days has given out less than $1 million to food importers!!! But this is the true incompentent face of this unethical revolution which has increased unemployment by 75% in four years and has increased poverty to unparalleled levels.

US Ambassador Shapiro on the offensive

April 22, 2003

I don’t like very much the US Ambassador to Venezuela. He is quite wishy washy, sometimes it is hard to understand what he is saying and has been too diplomatic at times. Thus, I was surprised at his two interventions in the last two days which appear to be more orders from high above than his usual blah style:

– Shapiro first snapped back at Foreign Minister Chaderton who had said Colin Powell was not well informed, by saying yesterday that he kept Powell very well informed as to what was happening in Venezuela.

Today Shapiro challenged General Melvin Lopez calling him a liar and saying more or less:” These accusations are totally false, without any foundation and we believe that to make accusations like this, in an irresponsible manner, only help to damage relations between the US and Venezuela. We are doing everything possible so that they are good. We want them to be good. But statements and accusations like these, immflamatory, besides being false, do not help at all”. He also added through the press office of the Embassy challenging the General “We challenge him to present this evidence” General Lopez has been saying for weeks that he has proof of the involvement of the US Government in the Carmona Presidency last April when Chavez left the Presidency for two days.

New Planning Minister, or is it an old one?

April 22, 2003

Minister of Planning Felipe Perez who was appointed less than a year ago was removed today by President Chavez. Perez, who has a PhD. in Economics from the University of Chicago, did little but make failed predictions as to the path of the economy while invoking the need for divine intervention and positive thinking to have things work out well.

He will be replaced by Jorge Giordani who happens to be the man that led the Ministry during the first three years of Chavez’ administration. Giordani, who is not an economist, set the country in a path that was simply unsustainable. He purposely pushed for the overvaluation of the currency while increasing internal debt by a factor of six in three years at levels above 30%, destroying much of local industry. This contradictory policy  was doomed from the beginning and eventually led to the sharp devaluation in February of 2002 and the continued devaluation since then which in turn led to exchange controls in January.

Some people believe that he comes back because Chavez can’t find anyone else. I disagree, he comes back because Chavez has extraordinary rapport with Giordani and believes in him. Giordani is a true leftist fundamentalist on economic matters who as recent as 1995 was praising the success of the North Korean economy in his academic writings on scientific planning. I see his return as a sign that Chavez wants to exert even more control on the economy. What is not clear to me is what will be the role of Minister of Finance Nobrega. Nobrega is an economist with a sound background, which Giordani does not have. Can’t see how they will get along, given that Giordani was the controlling force on the economy when he was Minister, a role assumed by Nobrega a year ago. Very bad sign for the country.

Government refuses to sign agreement

April 22, 2003

Imagine this: For four months the Government and the opposition have been negotiating to sign an agreement to defuse the Venezuelan political crisis. They reach a fairly innocuous agreement which says there will be a recall referendum if the opposition presents the required signatures, which is in the Constitution anyway, and that there will be international supervision. The agreement was to be signed today. Surprisingly, Chavez’ MVR party, which he has dominated and controlled for the last four years and has always reacted to every wish and whim of the President “refuses” to have the Government sign it and wants the agreement changed. In particular, they don’t want the international supervision and they refuse to accept that the recall referendum would take place no later than 90 days after the opposition hands in the required signatures. For all the fools, both here and abroad, who believed that there would be a recall referendum here, what more proof can you have of the true cynical and dictatorial nature of this Government? As I have said before, the Government will block any attempt to hold a recall referendum until August 2004 when, according to the Constitution, if Chavez were to lose a recall referendum, the Vice-President becomes President. Since Chavez can appoint the Vice-President anytime he wants, he will name his brother when and if he loses the referendum, if it ever takes place. Can it be clearer than this? Some people still think this is a democracy. Fools!